A dearth of good quality properties on the market and intense competition for the best properties will bolster the country house market in 2005, the Buying Solution buyers? service has predicted.

Low interest rates, low unemployment, and the potential for large city bonuses at the start of next year will underpin the market, and the best properties will continue to sell well, Buying Solution said.

Although properties with good links to the capital will always command a premium, buyers are venturing further away, according Philip Selway, Buying Solution?s head of country buying: ?As always, the demand is fuelled by good communications and commuting times to London. Motorway and railway links from the west of the country are good and as a result buyers where there are such communications are always prepared to push their area of search a little further away from London,? he said.

However, the top end of the property market looks strong: ?We think there will continue to be a strong demand and this is as a result of the shortage of good quality houses coming to the market together with an increasing number of buyers at the top end of the market,? said Mr Selway.

He added: ?We believed that the very best quality properties, where there are no obvious blemishes and with all of the boxes ticked, will continue to sell well, with high levels of competition from buyers.?